But success for the first-year program is coming faster than even the biggest optimists may have expected.
Both boys’ and girls’ programs at Cambridge have raced out to hot starts in the season’s first month, climbed to the top of the 7AAAAA standings and look to be on the fast track to becoming the first state playoff teams in school history.
The Lady Bears are 7-2 on the season and a perfect 6-0 in 7AAAAA play — sweeping five of their opponents 5-0 and topping Pope 4-1. Their only losses are narrow 2-3 defeats to reigning three-time state champion Blessed Trinity and last year’s AAAA state runner-up Marist.
“The girls are working really hard and the team has really connected,” said girls’ coach Leigh Lynott, who previously coached at Chattahoochee. “I knew there would be tennis talent at Cambridge, but this is a special group, especially since it is the first ever tennis team at Cambridge.”
Lynott went on to point out that her doubles lines have been a particular strength of her team, led by the team of Kiley Dempsey and Brenna Feirer that have yet to lose this season.
Sophomores Karah James and Hannah Baird have been strong in singles play as well, giving Lynott at optimistic outlook as the region and state playoffs approach next month.
“It’s been fun to see the girls in match play over the past few weeks. We have some strong players and they are very smart. [Now] our goal is to overcome the established schools like Northview and North Springs and win the region tournament.”
The Cambridge boys are 6-3 overall and hold a 5-1 record in region play with just four matches to play — placing them in third behind region undefeateds Northview and Pope.
“We have a lot of very talented, young tennis players in this area and because of this I was sure we could come in and compete in our region,” said boys’ coach Chris Feldman.
“Michael Feirer and David Ashcom have been particularly strong leaders on the team.”
Freirer, a junior, has held down the No. 1 line for the Bears all season. Ashcom is currently playing in the No. 2 slot with Carson Harrell on the third line. Feldman also noted strong play from his top doubles teams of Zac Hirschler and Brenner Lapid — winning all but one match this season. Both Cambridge teams will play Forsyth Central this Friday and have a critical match against Northview on Monday.